HECHO was featured in the December 2018-January 2019 Edition of National Wildlife Magazine:
A dynamic voice for Latino communities
Early last year, the National Wildlife Federation formed a strategic partnership with HECHO (Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors). The conservation group provides an effective voice for communities that traditionally have been underrepresented on matters relating to the environment. “HECHO is a national leader on public lands issues, and NWF is proud to have such a powerful partner to advance our collective conservation priorities,” says NWF Regional Executive Director Brian Kurzel.
The nation’s largest ethnic group, Latinos have a historical connection to the natural world. According to a 2018 Colorado College poll of residents in seven western states, 75 percent of Latino respondents identify themselves as conservationists, and 88 percent participate in outdoor activities such as fishing (above) and camping (below). “To maintain our traditions, we depend on healthy watersheds, clean air, robust wildlife habitats and access to public lands,” says Rock Ulibarri, a New Mexico county commissioner and HECHO advisory board chair.
The organization has worked with NWF on efforts to keep the nation’s federal lands open to all Americans and to fight a bill in Congress that would give states jurisdiction over oil and gas development on those lands. If that passes, says HECHO Director Camilla Simon, “there’s no guarantee the states would provide the same opportunities for public comment or thorough environmental analyses.”
NWF and HECHO have also challenged an administration plan to defund the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. “For half a century, the fund has played a key role in protecting not just land and water but also our country’s multicultural past,” says Simon. Through the fund, she adds, “we have been able to protect places that help tell the story of Hispanic Americans.” With this emerging partnership, that story will continue to unfold in the conservation arena.